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Forum News Service, Published December 10 2013

Cokato man ordered to pay $37,000 in restitution in fatal crash

WILLMAR, Minn. - A Cokato man sentenced to prison for an August 2012 crash that killed three people east of Willmar was ordered Tuesday to pay more than $37,000 in restitution to the victims’ survivors and their insurance company.

District Judge Donald Spilseth ordered that Paul Wickenhauser, 22, pay $3,256 to the insurance company, $17,856.70 to Gregory Stoffers and $16,254.26 to Michael Hoffman.

Stoffers and Hoffman are the survivors of Martha Stoffers, 68, of Atwater; her daughter-in-law, Michelle Hoffman, 40, of Eden Prairie; and Hoffman’s 8-year-old daughter, Julia. They were killed in a fiery crash Aug. 17, 2012, near where U.S. Highway 12 intersects with Kandiyohi County Road 127. The Hoffmans’ 5-year-old son, Jason, was injured in the crash.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Wickenhauser’s westbound pickup struck Stoffers’ eastbound van head-on.

Wickenhauser was sentenced in August to 67 months in prison and $3,000 in fines on felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide or operation – with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more. There was one count for each of the three victims.